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Tough at the top

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A hot seat but also an empty one is how the media is describing the unfilled top role at China Investment Corporation, the country’s $500 billion sovereign wealth firm.

When a senior job at a company like CIC comes up, you might expect a queue of applicants in minutes. But CIC has been lacking a chairman since March when Lou Jiwei was promoted to finance minister. Since then, a number of senior-level figures are said to have turned the position down, including Tu Guangshao, currently vice-mayor of Shanghai, and Yi Gang, deputy governor at the central bank.

“Those with the right qualifications don’t want the job. Those who want the job don’t have the right qualifications,” a CIC insider told the Financial Times.

Why might the best candidates be hesitating? The speculation is that some of CIC’s investments may be clunkers, leaving the newcomer on the hook for passing on the bad news. Blaming your predecessor is more of a challenge when he’s currently running the Ministry of Finance.

Sometimes, perhaps it’s better to stay where you are…


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